Batlow’s Marjory Tomlinson was officially announced as the Riverina Greens candidate for the Snowy Valleys Council election by Greens NSW MLC David Shoebridge in Tumut on Wednesday.
Mr Shoebridge said that in her time in Batlow – she arrived there in 2015 – Ms Tomlinson had been a very active member of the community, being a member of many different committees and an advocate for the proposed Batlow-Tumut rail trail.
He said she had taken a clear stand of the issue of a demerger of Snowy Valleys Council, strongly believing that if there is a demerger, that the cost falls to the state government, rather than ratepayers, describing the merger as a “disaster produced by the NSW coalition government.”
Mr Shoebridge said he had not seen a council that had not benefitted from having a greens councillor.
“When you travel around the Snowy Valleys Council, as I did just yesterday, you can see what a desperate need there is in the community. Yes, there has been some money spent by the state government following those terrible fires but you get this pressing sense of ongoing need in the community, and it’s more than just million dollar grants here and there, it’s sustained investment in community outreach, helping people not just economically recover, but emotionally and psychologically recover from the devastation of the fires.”
He said much of the wealth in Tumut and the surrounding areas comes from the forest industry, an industry the Greens support and want to see thrive and succeed.
“Indeed the future of the industry in NSW is in the plantation estate. We know this can be done in an ecologically sensitive way, that we know does produce high-quality, well paid jobs, not just in the creation and management of the plantations, but the downstream jobs that follow. Good, strong often unionised jobs with high wages and job security, and the Greens on council will be an advocate and supporter of the plantation industry done in an ecologically sound, well considered and publicly-owned format.”
Ms Tomlinson first joined the Busselton WA Greens in 2014 and when she retired from teaching in WA moved to Batlow in 2015 and joined the Riverina Greens.
“I want to make communities safer,” she said.
“Recently I toured Riverina Highlands Rural Fire Service HQ at the back of this building. I was shocked at the inadequacy of their offices and to learn their equipment is farmed out to two other locations around Tumut. They can get a new building funded by RFS but Council needs to supply a site. There are two sites under consideration. One in Sydney Street is not fit for purpose, being in a bushfire risk zone, and fire trucks would need to negotiate many stop signs to attend a fire. The other is at the Tumut Ril Station precinct on Gocup Road and this is the preferred site for the RFS, but negotiations have stalled. I intend to restart that conversation in a scheduled meeting with Council’s CEO.
“If elected I will make the needs of our RFS a top priority so they can better protect us.”
Ms Tomlinson declared her advocacy for the Batlow-Tumut Rail Trail and a trails-based economy.
“I want to deliver those same benefits we have witnessed with the Tumbarumba-Rosewood Rail Trail to the whole of the Snowy Valleys,” she said.
“I am talking about 17,000 users and nine new businesses since it opened last year. Our financial base will be more diverse and sustainable protecting us from the impacts of future disasters and pandemics, and increase active tourism in our beautiful environment. People and businesses also prefer to locate in areas where trails exist and they will increase our declining population and provide meaningful employment. Trails will also improve our health, creating active communities which are currently a designated heart attack hotspot.”
She said she would listen to and give voice to the concerns of the Snowy Valleys communities.
“When I first came to Batlow I advocated for a new playground at HV Smith Park because the metal slide was too hot for children to use in summer.
“That playground was finally upgraded in 2020. I have written many letters to the editor of the Tumut and Adelong Times, been interviewed and written many articles too; providing information, raising awareness and sparking action across a range of issues.
“In consultation with many people I wrote a submission to the Minister for Local Government about Council’s lack of consultation with the community with their handling of the Batlow Cannery site. Consultation recently took place. I wrote a submission to the Boundaries Commission and spoke at their hearing in support of Tumbarumba’s bid for self-determination and demerging our council.
“I add my voice to those of David Shoebridge and Dr Joe McGirr in calling on the Minister for Local Government to make an early decision to demerge our council. As Greens spokesperson for Snowy Valleys I have followed up on many issues reported to me.”
Ms Tomlinson vowed to continue to be a passionate and active supporter of communities if elected, and stand on her record of community service.
She belived Snowy Valleys would benefit greatly from a more “open, transparent, fairer and consultative Council, one in service to the needs of our communities.”
“If elected I promise to do my best to deliver a new style of governance to the Snowy Valleys, to bring a Greens perspective to the table offering sustainable, just and safer solutions to our contemporary problems.”